David Yurman Bolsters Executive Ranks

The company’s focus going forward will be on continued innovation for retail channels and increasing the brand’s global presence.

NEW YORK — David Yurman is expanding its executive team, as the company’s chief executive officer Glen Senk details plans to fine tune the brand’s supply chain and bolster its digital and international presence.

This story first appeared in the August 8, 2012 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Following Senk’s Feb. 27 appointment as ceo and an investor in the company, three hires effective Monday were revealed: William Paretti, chief marketing officer; Brendon Lynch, vice president of retail, and Ruth Sommers, consultant. In early May, Jill Unruh was named chief talent officer.


RELATED STORY: David Yurman Throws a Rooftop Bash >>

Prior to joining David Yurman, Paretti held the post of vice president of marketing at the LVMH subsidiary Moët Hennessy. Before that, he was vice president of media services at LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton for the U.S., Canada and Latin America and previously director of advertising and marketing at Prada USA.

Lynch spent the past 17 years at Anthropologie, most recently as executive director of retail, where the business ballooned from just two to 173 stores. Unruh, whose responsibilities run the gamut from recruiting, executive training, supervising and developing the review process and overseeing the general well-being of the employee population, joined the jewelry company in May from Urban Outfitters Inc., parent company of Anthropologie. Senk is the former ceo of Urban Outfitters.

He told WWD that three of the four positions are newly created, with the exception of Lynch’s post.

“I love the vision that David and Sybil [Yurman] have crafted. I am here to make sure that the foundation is in place, support their vision and almost put a magnifying glass on this vision to make sure that we have got the right structure in place and that we methodically execute it,” Senk said.

He maintained that business is “very healthy,” and beyond product development, the company’s focus going forward will be on continued innovation for direct to consumer and retail channels, as well as increasing the brand’s presence internationally.

Senk called the new 20-style Labyrinth collection, which made its debut at Baselworld and The Couture Show earlier this year and retails from $625 to $8,500, the “biggest launch in the history of the company.” The diamond Silver Ice Labyrinth offerings will be available exclusively at Neiman Marcus and neimanmarcus.com beginning Aug. 15 for a month before distribution widens to all 23 of David Yurman’s retail boutiques. A colored version of the collection is already carried exclusively at the brand’s stores (this includes four global shops-in-shop) and the brand’s Web site.

Senk sees an opportunity to improve the company’s supply chain management. He’s spent half of his first five months “out in the stores,” and said sales staff most often request that deliveries be more predictable, timely and containing complete collections.

“This is an important part of taking great care with the customer — and having product when she wants it. This is not a sexy initiative, but it’s an important one,” Senk said, adding that this is where Sommers’ expertise in managing complex supply chains for multichannel and multinational businesses — at her own company, Noi Solutions, as well as American Eagle, Ann Taylor and for 15 years at Limited Brands — will be useful.

Digital is another area Senk is focusing on — citing that within the luxury space, as many as 70 percent of customers begin their journey online. This means that a digital flagship must be reflective of the brand’s DNA, and tell the company’s story in a way that makes sense. He also pointed out that the younger consumer is the fastest growing part of the business — an audience that’s extremely active across a range of digital, social and commerce platforms.

“It has to be as sensuous as the product is, and right now we fall short. It’s an opportunity for us and we’re looking to do that,” Senk said, noting that subtle changes have been implemented on davidyurman.com in the past several months, but more drastic changes will be unveiled in the coming year.

“When I think of marketing, there are many, many aspects of marketing. I think of branding and strategy and research, but also CRM, database and digital marketing and social media,” Senk said. “Billy [Paretti], besides being very left brain-right brain and very creative, has very deep and substantial functional experience.”

North America is by far the almost 33-year-old company’s biggest market, but it also has a presence in Europe and Asia. Of the five points of distribution the company maintains in those regions — its first freestanding international store was at Hong Kong’s International Finance Center and it’s carried at two shops-in-shop in Lane Crawford in Hong Kong and Printemps in Paris — sales are healthy, according to Senk. He acknowledged that these markets have yet to be aggressively pursued.

“If you look at other luxury brands, your logic would tell you that there’s an enormous opportunity for us outside North America,” Senk said, adding that the addition of these hires will help tackle international expansion.